Palermo local Marco Romeo launched Streaty Palermo Tours in 2013, offering walking tours through the exotic and mysterious squares and markets of the Sicilian capital. Visitors are invited to explore 2,000 years of history in “two bites, two steps and a couple of sips”, via street vendors and old-fashioned inns that are loved by locals and overlooked by most tourists. If anyone knows where to find Palermo’s hidden gems, it’s Marco. So what are his top tips for exploring Palermo? Let’s find out…
“When a friend comes to explore Palermo, the first place I take them to is Capo Market because it’s authentic and unusual, even for Italy. The uniqueness of street food from Palermo lies not only in its variety and in its goodness, but also because every dish represents a chapter in the history of the Sicilian capital.
Spring is the best time of the year for exploring Palermo because flowers are blossoming, the sea is clean and beaches aren’t spoiled by tourists. You get the best view of the city from Monte Pellegrino, from here you can see all of the so-called: Conca d’oro, “the golden shell of Palermo.” You only need to drive 20 minutes from anywhere in the city to get to the beach or the mountains.
Walking is by far the easiest way to explore Palermo because otherwise you just miss out on a lot of the sights and drive yourself crazy in the traffic – one of the best things to do for free in the city is to walk around the alleys of Kalsa. People think Palermo is dangerous but it’s actually very safe.
In Palermo, the sun is always above your head, food is excellent and cheap and the rhythm of life is relaxed. Palermo is authentic, not sold yet to mass tourism, so it still offers 100% local experiences.
There are several street food dishes that you can only find in Palermo, such as the “pani ca meusa” or spleen sandwich, “frittola” (cartilage and fat of veal), “stigghiole” (veal intestine), “panelle” (chickpea fritters), “quarume” (veal entrails) and “sfincione” – soft, spongy pizza. The street food in Palermo is cheap and available 24/7. It’s more than food, it’s culture. Palermo is ranked in fifth place in the top ten cities for street food in the world. So, if you come to Palermo, don’t miss the chance to enjoy its extraordinary cuisine!
The best souvenir? Find out local recipes and take them home with you – you won’t find them anywhere else.
Before exploring Palermo, read Vicoli-Vicoli by Alli Traina – it unveils the secrets of the city’s ancient alleys. Watch the 2008 movie Palermo Shooting. You’ll see the beauty of Palermo from a different perspective.”
Flights to Palermo
- Fiona Hilliard